HONG KONG (SE): Our Lady of Fatima Parish on Cheung Chau Island celebrated the 102 anniversary of the sixth and final apparition of Our Lady to the three children in Fatima, Portugal, in 1917 with great devotion and solemn festivities on October 13. Neither the cancellation of annual event of the procession in honour of the Holy Cross and Our Lady of Fatima, owing to the continued unrest in the society, nor the weather reports for a rainy day, succeeded in dampening the spirit of the faithful who came in good number from various parishes across Hong Kong.
Since the month of October is also month of the Rosary, and in response to the call of Pope Francis to celebrate it as Extraordinary Mission Month, the parish organised a novena and Rosary prayers from October 4 to 12. Parishioners gathered together in the evenings for nine days to pray for peace in Hong Kong and in the world.
The day’s events began with praying all the four mysteries of the Rosary in Chinese and English. Salesian Father John Bosco Fung presided over the feast day Mass concelebrated by the parish priest, Claretian Father Josekutty Mathew, Jesuit Father Stephen Tong and Salesian Father Miriyala Bala Kishore.
In his homily, Father Fung stressed the message of Our Lady to the children to pray the Rosary for the forgiveness of sins and for peace in the world. “Our Lady of Fatima invites us to grow in love of Jesus and in love towards one another,” he said.
In a spiritual recollection on the theme of the missionary responsibility of all the baptised, Father Peter Choy Wai-man deliberated on the role of lay people to live out their mission of being a prophet, priest, and king.
He also shared his experiences of the Diocesan Working Committee for Following Thy Way which promotes evangelisation of the laity through visiting the early missionary spots in Hong Kong.
The project, which is headed by him, aims to repair and restore the dilapidated structures of chapels in the peripheries of New Territories. These chapels were thriving centres of faith in the past, but with younger generations preferring the urban life to the village settings, many of them are left with little or a handful of faithful of the older generation. They have no means or resources to maintain the existing structures.
Father Choy’s project aims to integrate the work of the early missionaries into the daily lives of the laity and as a result, restore the history of Catholic Church in Hong Kong.
Like St. Francis of Assisi who began his missionary endeavours with the restoration of a ruined chapel in his neighbourhood (the Portiuncula), Father Choy hopes to awaken the missionary spirit among the Catholics by encouraging their participation in the restoration project of these faith centres of yesteryear.
Over a hundred people attended the recollection talk, which was followed by benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.